Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Security or repression?

Is this an organized political protest or a sophisticated, internet-using populace?

Russia internet freedom: Thousands protest against cyber-security bill
Thousands of people in Russia have protested against plans to introduce tighter restrictions on the internet.
Moscow protest
A mass rally in Moscow and similar demonstrations in two other cities were called after parliament backed the controversial bill last month.

The government says the bill, which allows it to isolate Russia's internet service from the rest of the world, will improve cyber-security.

But campaigners say it is an attempt to increase censorship and stifle dissent.

Activists say more than 15,000 people gathered in Moscow on Sunday, which is double the estimate given by the police…

"If we do nothing it will get worse," one protester told Reuters news agency. "The authorities will keep following their own way and the point of no return will be passed."

Another campaigner, Sergei Boiko, told AFP news agency that "the government is battling freedom"…

The government says the so-called digital sovereignty bill will reduce Russia's reliance on internet servers in the United States.

It seeks to stop the country's internet traffic being routed through foreign servers.

A second vote is expected later this month.

If it is passed it will eventually need to be signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has introduced a swathe of tougher internet laws in recent years. On Thursday, its parliament passed two bills outlawing "disrespect" of authorities and the spreading of what the government deems to be "fake news"…

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